Crosses from the past

A visitor at the Hill of Crosses, a popular site of pilgrimage, near the northern Lithuanian city of Siauliai on Tuesday.

More than 100,000 Christian pilgrims and tourists from around the world visit the place every year.

The site's exact origins remain a mystery, and many legends and fables colour its history.

The first mention of it in writing dates back to 1850, but some think the crosses were there much earlier. They are believed to number around 100,000.

Since gaining independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, religion has been practised freely and openly in Lithuania. But an exodus of people from rural areas means fewer young people learn the craft of cross-making.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2020, with the headline 'Crosses from the past'. Print Edition | Subscribe